How Wall Street’s ‘fear gauge’ is being rigged, according to one whistleblower

Cboe’s VIX products is the target of a whistleblower (Getty Images)

 

One of the most popular measures of volatility is being manipulated, charges one individual who submitted a letter anonymously to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The letter makes the claim to regulators that fake quotes for the S&P 500 index are skewing levels of the Cboe Volatility Index which reflects bearish and bullish options bets 30-days in the future on the S&P 500 to gauge implied stock-market volatility (see excerpt from the letter below).

The flaw allows trading firms with sophisticated algorithms to move the VIX up or down by simply posting quotes on S&P options and without needing to physically engage in any trading or deploying any capital. This market manipulation has led to multiple billions in profits effectively taken away from institutional and retail investors and cashed in by unethical electronic option market makers. Continue reading

Rival investors seek to stop Chinese takeover of Chicago Stock Exchange

In December 2016, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States approved the CHX deal. But in August, the SEC delayed action on the purchase and has offered no timeline for when it will make a decision. | Getty

 

A group of U.S. investors hoping to buy the Chicago Stock Exchange is lobbying Congress to torpedo a rival, Chinese-backed acquisition proposal that is stalled at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Lobbyists representing “Exchange Capital LLC,” a special-purpose entity for a private-equity investor group, said they helped generate a Sept. 26 letter led by Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-N.C.) to the SEC raising “serious concerns” over the CHX acquisition. Continue reading

143 Million Affected in Hack of U.S. Credit Agency

A major American credit reporting agency entrusted to safeguard personal financial information said Thursday hackers looted its system in a colossal breach that could affect nearly half the US population as well as people in Britain and Canada.

Equifax said that a hack it learned about on July 29 had the potential to affect 143 million US customers, and involved some data for British and Canadian residents.

The Atlanta-based company disclosed the breach in a release that did not explain why it waited more than a month to warn those affected about a risk of identity theft. Continue reading

A New Financial System is Being Born

 

If Bitcoin blew you away when you first discovered it, and continues to do so to this day, Spiral Dynamics can help explain why. Bitcoin was an expression in the physical world of the newly emergent leading-edge integral level consciousness. It drew lessons from history and attempted to take the best of orange and green worldviews and incorporate them into an entirely new form of money. We see the clear presence of free markets and individualism, as well as the intentional separation of the system from dominator hierarchies (bureaucratic government meddling), which had corrupted all money before it. Its greenness is evident in the fact that by design no individual or company controls the network. Global, decentralized, revolutionary technology. This is perhaps the perfect example of integral consciousness operating on our planet at this time from an economics standpoint, and why it has captured the imagination of so many, while at the same time being violently rejected by so many others.


Although I had heard about it much earlier, I didn’t truly start investigating Bitcoin until the summer of 2012. The more I learned the more my mind was blown away, and for a while I couldn’t think about anything else. What truly solidified its real world usefulness to me was when I discovered it had been used by Wikileaks to accept payments in the midst of a financial services blockade against the renegade publisher. This realization inspired my first Bitcoin related post in August 2012 titled, Bitcoin: A Way to Fight Back Against the Financial Terrorists?  Continue reading

Report: Documents show U.S. has approved sale of Chicago Stock Exchange to Chinese firm

The sale was approved despite the objections of several U.S. lawmakers. /Getty Images

 

The sale was approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to a Chinese group led by Chongqing Casin Enterprise Group despite the objections of several U.S. lawmakers who cited concerns about the level of influence the Chinese state might gain over the Chicago exchange, Reuters reported. Continue reading

Unconscionable Manipulation in the Stock Market

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c1/Wynn_2_%282%29.jpg

 

Last week casino owner and billionaire Steve Wynn admitted something that few people on the inside are every willing to acknowledge. He clearly stated that stock market can be manipulated using the very loopholes that we identified at work in the 2008 collapse, including naked short selling, dark pools, and high-frequency trading. Here are some quotes from his recent conference call:

“…the exchanges don’t enforce the rules of naked shorts. So, I mean, it’s unconscionable manipulation of the stock that occurs. They open up every morning, and the high-frequency traders in the shorts have a ball selling shares, and then value buyers step in the afternoon and they cover the shorts. I mean, it’s regular casino activity.” The company currently has about 14 million shares short, or almost one-quarter of total float. Continue reading

Are We Now Buying the Rope On Which We Will Hang?

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The idea was that America was so corrupted and so greedy that we would eventually disregard our own national security in pursuit of a short-term profit. Ironically, it turned out that the Soviet system died under the weight of its own corruption. Communists, at least in practice rather than theory, tend to be just as greedy (if not more so) than capitalists. The Soviet Union is gone and America remains.

What Lenin may have missed is that America’s sin of greed is perhaps overshadowed by our gluttony. Yes, greed was at work in the last downturn but so was overconsumption. As a nation, we are at least as guilty in our buying habits as we are in our selling. One example is that the nation has about $19 trillion in Federal government debt, not to mention unfunded liabilities valued in the $100s of trillions, or private debt which is much greater than GDP already. From one view, this enormous quantity of debt could be the rope with which we hang. We buy goods and services from China and they claim the debt we incur to them is a weapon they can use against us. But that is just one example. Continue reading

Russian hackers breached Dow Jones for trading tips

After a year-long investigation, Bloomberg has reported details on the extent of a data breach, and the motive behind it.

Russian hackers had infiltrated Dow Jones & Co to steal information to trade on before it was made public, and the breach was “far more serious than a lower-grade intrusion” disclosed by the company, Bloomberg reported, citing sources.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Secret Service and the Securities and Exchange Commission are leading an investigation, which began at least a year ago, Bloomberg reported. (http://bloom.bg/1LSxcUI) Continue reading

Deutsche Bank Exodus Continues As Real Estate Chief Leaves For Blackstone

Have you ever wondered which big bank after Lehman Brothers would be next to fall? This is why you see so much shuffling from within and people resigning suddenly and going to work for another institution.

Moreover, with over $72 TRILLIONyes trillion, in derivatives exposure — we have likely found it. To put this tiny bit of risk in perspective, the GDP of Germany itself is a mere humble $2.7 trillion.

This is why Germany is also worried in this high stakes game of chicken. If Greece goes, Deutsche Bank who’s heavily invested will go, and creates the possibility of bringing the country with it. From there you can only see how such a scenario would spread to the rest of the world.

 

Earlier this month, Deutsche Bank’s co-CEOs Anshu Jain and Jürgen Fitschen were shown the door (well, technically they resigned, but with shareholder support plummeting amid skepticism about both financial targets and ongoing legal problems, it’s easy to read between the lines). The bank, which has paid out more than $9 billion over the past three years alone to settle legacy litigation, has become something of a poster child for corrupt corporate culture. Consider the following rundown of the legal problems the bank faced as of the beginning of its 2015 fiscal year:

We are currently the subject of regulatory and criminal industry-wide investigations relating to interbank offered rates, as well as civil actions. Due to a number of uncertainties, including those related to the high profile of the matters and other banks’ settlement negotiations, the eventual outcome of these matters is unpredictable, and may materially and adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition and reputation.  Continue reading

Ponzi: Treasury Issues $1T in New Debt in 8 Weeks—To Pay Old Debt

Record Revenue through Nov. 25, 2014

 

The Daily Treasury Statement that was released Wednesday afternoon as Americans were preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving revealed that the U.S. Treasury has been forced to issue $1,040,965,000,000 in new debt since fiscal 2015 started just eight weeks ago in order to raise the money to pay off Treasury securities that were maturing and to cover new deficit spending by the government.

During those eight weeks, Treasury took in $341,591,000,000 in revenues. That was a record for the period between Oct. 1 and Nov. 25. But that record $341,591,000,000 in revenues was not enough to finance ongoing government spending let alone pay off old debt that matured.

The Treasury also drew down its cash balance by $45.057 billion during the period, starting with $126,568,000,000 in cash and ending with $81,511,000,000.

The only way the Treasury could handle the $942,103,000,000 in old debt that matured during the period plus finance the new deficit spending the government engaged in was to roll over the old debt into new debt and issue enough additional new debt to cover the new deficit spending.

This mode of financing the federal government resembles what the Securities and Exchange Commission calls a Ponzi scheme. “A Ponzi scheme,” says the Securities and Exchange Commission, “is an investment fraud that involves the payment of purported returns to existing investors from funds contributed by new investors,” says the Securities and Exchange Commission. Continue reading